Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
A ninth inning run proved to be the difference as UCLA beat Long Beach St. on Tuesday evening.
Nearly four hours after UCLA and Long Beach St. got underway at Blair Field on Tuesday night there was nothing separating the two, deadlocked in a 2-2 tie. More amazing, the deliberate game was still in the ninth inning. But Brenton Allen broke the tie in the ninth, drawing a bases loaded walk to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead, a score the held up when David Berg retired the final batter of the game four hours and 14 minutes after it began to seal a hard-earned win UCLA.
The Bruins struck first with a first inning run, thanks to none other than Kevin Kramer. Brian Carroll singled with one out before stealing second to set up Kramer, who did not disappoint. With a man in scoring position, the hot-hitting junior extended his hitting streak to five games with a single to center that scored Carroll and UCLA was in front early.
Two innings later, the Bruins added to their lead with a two-out rally. Kramer got it going when he was hit by a pitch before Pat Valaika singled. After Pat Gallagher walked UCLA had the bases loaded for Ty Moore, who didn't have to do much to pick up a RBI. He stood and watched four pitches go by, all balls, to draw a walk that forced Kramer in for a 2-0 UCLA lead.
The Bruins could have added to their lead, but Jake Stassi entered for Beach after Moore walked and struck out Cody Regis to end the inning. That would become the norm in the following innings as the Bruins failed to catch up to Stassi, who threw four brilliant one-hit innings in which he struck out seven to quiet the UCLA offense.
Stassi's wonderful pitching didn't hurt the Bruins, though, thanks to Cody Poteet. The freshman, making just his second career start, did his best to match Stassi. He allowed a run in the second inning when he loaded the bases with nobody out, but he did well to get out of the frame with just one run across and that would prove to be the only run he would allow all game.
By the time Poteet got the hook after 5.1 innings, he had thrown 5.1 innings, struck out four and allowed just one run on four hits. He would be replaced by Max Schuh, who continued his dominance of left-handed batters by retiring the only man he was brought in to face on just one pitch. Zack Weiss then came on to get the last out of the sixth and by the time the Bruins got to the seventh inning stretch they were holding a 2-1 lead.
That lead would disappear the very next batter, though. Richard Prigatano crushed a 3-2 pitch from Weiss for a solo home run at the cavernous ballpark that tied the game at 2-2 and put the pressure on Weiss to keep the score there. But while Weiss made things difficult on himself by hitting a batter and committing an error to put men on the corners, Weiss got out of the inning with the Bruins still tied.
UCLA almost went ahead in the eighth inning when they put men on the first and third with out out, but an attempted double steal ended with Brett Urabe being gunned out at the plate. The threat was done, which could have cost them the game, but they made up for it the following inning.
Eric Filia was hit by a pitch to start the frame, becoming the fourth Bruin to be hit by a pitch in the game and Carroll followed with a walk. Kramer then singled to load up the bases and while a Valaika pop up put the Bruins a double play away from failing to score, Allen was able to draw what would prove to be the game-winning walk. It forced Filia in and the Bruins had a 3-2 lead.
John Savage already had Berg in the bullpen and was prepared to go to the ace reliever regardless of whether the Bruins had the lead, but they did have the lead, and Berg was coming in to pick up his third save. The sophomore didn't make it easy on himself, surrendering two hits, but with the tying and winning runs on base, Berg got a strikeout and a fly out to seal the UCLA win.
Despite his strong start, Poteet had to take the no decision, while Ryan Deeter earned his first win of the season thanks to a perfect eighth inning and Berg got that third save. Kramer led the way at the plate with two hits, 40% of the Bruins' hits on a five-hit evening in Long Beach, but a productive one as the Bruins improved to 9-2 on the season.